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stever Nov 28th, 2016 07:31 PM

DC to Dubai 3 nts, Tokyo 6 nts. Kyoto day trip? Itinerary thoughts?
Hello folks,

I'm looking to plan my next trip. I'd always wanted to go to Dubai and Tokyo so I thought I'd combine both in this trip. I would leave DC on May 24th, 2017 at 1055am, get to Dubai 855AM. 3 nts there, then 5/28 fly to Tokyo at 8am - and arrive at 1045pm to HND airport, 6 nts there, then fly home to DC - HND - PEK - IAD.

2 non stop flights on Emirates and 1 China Air flight home w/1 stopover (Beijing stopover for 1:25 minutes).

I had initially thought, 4 nights Tokyo, 2 nights Kyoto, but after talking with a friend, they did a day trip to Kyoto instead, so they didn't have to check out of their Tokyo hotel, shlep all their stuff to Kyoto, then shlep it back. It makes sense to me. I just wanted a broad overview, nothing too incredibly detailed, so I could take the super fast train one morning while in Tokyo for 2.5 hours. Do a day tour of Kyoto, then train it back to Tokyo, never having to check out and check back in. Maybe a day trip to Hiroshima too. Seems perfect.

Thoughts? I'm guessing many of you would say that it depends what I want to see, and this wouldn't really be enough time to see Kyoto, but in a way, I don't care :o). I'm just looking for a brief smattering of sites to get a sense of a place. I LOVE museums, art museums particularly. I love walking around cool places, especially cities. I think Tokyo will be my cup of tea as I can get lost there in a sense. I'd be traveling alone, as usual.

I'd have 3 free nights at the Sheraton Four Points in Dubai, then 6 free nights at the Tokyo Station Courtyard Marriott all on points. YAY for cheap Starwood/Marriott points. I'm not rich, so this would be a great trip due to the free hotels.

It's $1807 RT for the multicity trip. It would cost much less, closer to $1048 RT if I did more stopovers, but I don't want to. It adds much time to the trip. I much prefer as much non stop flights as possible and this is the best deal I could find (Kayak), so far.

I want to see the Robot restaurant, do day tours of the city once I get there, I'll have to work a bit each day from my hotel room for 90 minutes in the AM and 2 hours when I get back to my hotel to keep up with my job. It's all good.

Any suggestions more than this would be appreciated. I'll take what I need... and leave the rest. I'm SO EXCITED! I thought, what cool trip could I do mid year? I wanted to do the South Pole since I just got back from the N Pole, but it's SO EXPENSIVE that I think I want to put that on hold for a while. If I do REALLY WELL in 2017, workwise, I still might do it in December. Or wait till 2018. Will have to see.

Other stuff I had thought about doing instead of this trip was a safari in Africa, but decided I'd rather wait and to this with a woman (if I can find one again!). I'm 55 and mostly single the last 6 years. Or maybe I could have gone to Iceland for a week instead but deemed it not "exotic enough". Or Galapagos, but I'd rather do this with a date instead. Or Germany for 10 days to see the BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche factory tours and their corresponding museums (I love cars) + a day in Munich, Dachau and Berlin to see museums, but it's not calling to me like this Dubai/Japan trip is right now.

Life is good. Feeling blessed.

Best regards,

Gaithersburg MD

kja Nov 28th, 2016 08:22 PM

As you suspected, the answer is: it depends on what you want to see and experience. IMO, a day trip from Tokyo to Kyoto would not give a sense of what Kyoto is like -- too rushed, too little time to see the range of what Kyoto offers, too little opportunity to get a feel for the place.

Likewise, a day trip to Hiroshima would mean a lot of travel for a very little time on the ground, and sitting on a train is not the way I would choose to cope with the powerful emotions that I, at least, experienced in Hiroshima.

I'm not sure I understand the logic of combining Dubai and Tokyo. You can fly to Tokyo from DC direct -- why add a stop half way around the world and in between? And why spend all that time in the air when there is so much you could be seeing and experiencing on the ground?

Why not spend all your time in and around Tokyo? It sounds like you want to see the things Tokyo offers. Add a day trip or overnight in Nikko, Kamakura, etc.

But its your trip and your call. Good luck!

Jhon_Carter Nov 28th, 2016 10:09 PM

There are lots of things to do in Tokyo. If you are thinking to plan one day trip then it’s better to drop the idea, because Tokyo is full of surprises…….
1) Cherry Blossom festivals (Most authentic Japanese Festival )
2) Meiji Shrine (place is a relaxing oasis in busy Tokyo)
3) If you are pet lover then try the Cat Café (surround by cute animals)
4) Royogoku Kokugikan (Create a real sumo feast)
5) Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (one of the best groomed parks you will ever see )
6) Shibuya (the shopping mecca and simply a very exciting place to be).
So don’t get hassle and do enjoy your journey…………..

Kathie Nov 29th, 2016 06:22 AM

My thought is that it is crazy to do a day trip from Tokyo to Kyoto or Hiroshima. Do you have any interest in either of these places? If you do a few hours in either city it will be more frustrating than illuminating. If you hate packing up and moving, see if you can get a flight in or out on Kansai, so you'd fly into Tokyo, spend a few days, then train to Kyoto, fly home (or the reverse).

BigRuss Nov 29th, 2016 07:56 AM

How would you get to Hiroshima from Tokyo - it's a 4-hour train RT if you go direct, and it's 1.5 hours flying (plus check-in, plus transit to the airport)?

Tokyo has various critter cafes. There are also owl and rabbit cafes, not just kitties.

mrwunrfl Nov 29th, 2016 09:24 AM

You check out of your Tokyo hotel and leave your luggage there. Just take what you need for a night or two in a backpack.

You might be able to get a cheap airfare from Haneda to Hiroshima. The Hiroshima Sheraton is a great place to use your SPG points.

Tokyo to Hiroshima is 4 hours by rail each way. Leave 6AM and get there at 9:50. Depart Hiroshima at 8PM and arrive Tokyo just before midnight. So, 8 hours of travel for 10 hours max in Hiroshima at a cost of about 37,600 JPY

Or spend a night or two at the Westin in Kyoto, if you can get a points or points&cash rate.

BigRuss Nov 29th, 2016 11:14 AM

Uh, my post wasn't clear. It's four hours each way (3:58 to 4:02 on a direct train, longer if you try to take trains covered by the JR pass).

stever Nov 29th, 2016 05:37 PM

Wow, thanks so much for the responses. I actually, stupidly, didn't realize that Dubai was so insanely out of the way on a trip to Tokyo. This is a much better idea to just do Tokyo then. It just seemed cool to finally go to Dubai too, but not on this trip due to the incredibly long time in the air. You all are a heck of a lot smarter than me :o).

And yes, now I can do maybe 5 nights in Tokyo and 3 in Kyoto, or something like that. YAY! Any other "must do places or places to eat"? Otherwise, I'll search for your "just back reports" and get them there instead.

So excited. When I saw the LONG time in the air on the way to Dubai and then Japan from Dubai, it never occurred to me to even look at a map to see the insanity of this. I hate being on an airplane for a long time, like most of us.

kja Nov 29th, 2016 05:51 PM

Good choice to skip Dubai this trip -- I'm glad my comments proved helpful!

Of course there are innumerable other "must-do" places -- and of course, ONLY you can decide, based on YOUR interests, which are "must do" for YOU. So get a good guide book or two (or consult them at your local library), scrutinize every page of the excellent web-site, read trip reports and planning threads -- and come back when you have some specific questions.

Kathie Nov 29th, 2016 05:57 PM

Yes, I agree skip Dubai. I'd reverse the time 5 days in Kyoto and 3 in Tokyo, but that's me. Do some reading on and decide what is most important for you to see/do/experience.

BigRuss Nov 30th, 2016 08:20 AM

<<And yes, now I can do maybe 5 nights in Tokyo and 3 in Kyoto>>

Add to Kyoto. Your previous schedule had about 10-11 nights anyway.

Must eat sushi in Tokyo (if you eat sushi at all). We bought 12 nigiri pairs and one maki roll at a random sushi resto in Asakusa (don't remember the name, there are a bunch near Sensoji) and it cost us all of 1942 yen - that's $17 for me and her highness. Was good too. Even the high-end nigiri were under $4 per pair - good luck finding that in the US (the faux crab goes for more than that).

Go to Nikko from Tokyo. Check it out on

Go hang out with the monkeys in Arashiyama, Kyoto.

janisj Nov 30th, 2016 09:29 AM

I would try to do at least 4 nights in Kyoto -- more if you can squeeze it in. I spent 4 nights (only 3 full days) there last Nov. and barely scratched the surface. Thoroughly enjoyed it and saw a LOT (and walked more than 7 miles every single day - on top of using the subway, cabs and one 3 hour bus tour). But I could have easily filled 2 or 3 more days.

shelemm Dec 2nd, 2016 11:56 AM

We,, Steve R, if you like to Chowhound you might consider a pilgrimage to the Yokohama Ramen Museum.

stever Dec 6th, 2016 07:20 PM

Thanks folks. I appreciate the info. I booked 5 nights on cheap Starwood points (44000 pts - $245 value per night for free) at the Sheraton Miyako Hotel Tokyo from 5/26-5/31 and 5/31-6/3 at THE WESTIN MIYAKO KYOTO for 3 nights (33000 pts, valued at $495 nt for free). Honestly, when traveling alone, I get antsy after a while, miss home, and have just got to get home. I only wanted to do a smattering of stuff and this will suit my needs well. Plus, I'm bogged down with work so I can't be away too long. And, I may still want to do the South Pole at the end of the year so I'll need to save days off for then.

I can get a non stop to Toyko and back from DC but the prices are still quite high for this flight. My travel guy said to check back the 2nd week in January as the prices can sometimes drop then.

So I'll take the high speed train on May 31th to Kyoto. My plan was to not fly straight back from Kyoto to DC as there's a 5 hour layover in San Francisco but to take the train back to Yokohama or Tokyo on the 3rd, stay over night somewhere, then get to the airport that next day and fly back. Still not 100% sure if this is the best way to do this. Any suggestions? Didn't really want to travel for 20 hours from Kyoto back home in one fell stretch but not sure I want to train back, stay in a hotel, then fly back either.

I am perplexed!

kja Dec 6th, 2016 08:11 PM

We each travel for different reasons and with different interests and styles – and viva la difference! But FWIW – and it may be nothing – as a solo traveler I use a room simply for sleep and hygiene. I want something clean and well-located; a bit of character is a bonus. I, personally, cannot imagine the “value” that a Western hotel would offer that would be worth nearly $500 a night. In all my travels, I don’t recall even a splurge that exceeded $150 a night. To be clear, I understand that there are reasons why people might pay very high prices for a true luxury experience, but I woudn’t think you could get that at a Starwood. I could be wrong. Still, I would FAR rather put the money to a direct flight. JMO.

stever Dec 7th, 2016 04:35 AM

KJA - I appreciate your info. I'm only staying at these hotels since they're free and they have great working internet. I have to work the entire time I'm here, but only in the morning for an hour or so and 2 hours when I get home to the hotel each night. My hotel is my haven. And... since it's free on points, it's awesome.

BigRuss Dec 7th, 2016 08:08 AM

You can go Kyoto to Narita to DC in a long day and it's not horrible. First, you'd have a couple of hours on the shinkansen. Then you're going to spend time in Narita anyway because you need to arrive 3 hours in advance for an international flight and it's a nice airport. I'd take as much time as poss in Kyoto.

mrwunrfl Dec 7th, 2016 10:12 AM

>>Kyoto to DC as there's a 5 hour layover in San Francisco

You must be referring to a a United itinerary with a 4h 50m stop at SFO. But there are other options including one with a 1.5h connection.

When you look at fares, use:
OSA for Osaka (ITM or KIX)
TYO for Tokyo (HND or NRT)
WAS for D.C. (IAD, DCA, or BWI)

You might also consider using Nagoya (NGO).

Other options are to use a one-way FF award and to see if a roundtrip departing from Japan is less expensive than a one-way.

janisj Dec 7th, 2016 11:00 PM

Even if the SFO layover was 5 hours I would prefer that to 1) losing a day in Kyoto, 2) an extra checking out/ in, and 3) an additional long train ride.

SFO has some great food options (as airports go)

stever Dec 8th, 2016 07:48 AM

That makes a lot of sense. I guess I'll not take the train back to Tokyo losing another day, and work to get a better flight out of OSAKA to WASHINGTON DC.


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